The fasting insulin test is a blood test that measures the level of insulin in your blood after an overnight fast. Here are some reasons why you might consider getting a fasting insulin test:
Diabetes: The fasting insulin test can help diagnose diabetes and prediabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. In diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or is resistant to its effects, leading to high blood sugar levels. High fasting insulin levels may indicate insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
Metabolic disorders: The fasting insulin test may also be used to evaluate metabolic disorders, such as metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Insulin resistance is a key component of metabolic syndrome, and high fasting insulin levels may be a sign of this condition.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Women with PCOS may have high levels of insulin and may be at increased risk for developing insulin resistance and diabetes. The fasting insulin test can help diagnose and monitor insulin levels in women with PCOS.
Hypoglycemia: In rare cases, a fasting insulin test may be used to diagnose hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Low fasting insulin levels may indicate a rare condition called insulinoma, in which a tumor in the pancreas produces too much insulin.
In summary, a fasting insulin test may be used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes, evaluate metabolic disorders such as metabolic syndrome, monitor insulin levels in women with PCOS, and diagnose rare conditions such as insulinoma. If you have symptoms of diabetes or metabolic disorders, or if you are at risk for developing these conditions, your healthcare provider may recommend a fasting insulin test as part of your care.